Patient bleeds out during surgery due to hospital errors
A coroner has found severe failings in the treatment of a patient at an NHS Trust in London. Patients going to hospital for surgery in Harlow may be aware that hospitals will often order a supply of blood when a surgical operation is scheduled. In this instance, the patient at Northwick Park Hospital in Harrow died from blood loss on the operating table during her surgery on an artery while medical staff waited for a supply of blood to arrive.
The 85-year-old patient was receiving surgery to repair a bulge in her artery, and the coroner said that the need for a supply of blood had been known ahead of time. The initial error occurred when the patient’s name was incorrectly spelled and the blood that had been ordered was returned. This failure was compounded when the anaesthetist failed to share this information with the surgeon in a timely manner, and the operation had already begun before he was informed that there was no blood supply on hand for his patient.
When the patient’s daughter visited intensive care, she reported that her mother, the bed and the floor around it were soaked in blood. The hospital launched its own investigation after the incident and agreed that the delay of a blood supply for the patient caused her death. Apologies were offered to the family of the victim by the head of the north-west London Trust who said that it had put changes in place to ensure a repeat of the incident would not occur.
When a patient’s death is caused by the avoidable errors of medical staff, the loss and emotional pain of the family members can be extreme. A solicitor experienced in medical malpractice cases may be able to help them ensure that those responsible are held accountable for their actions and will not repeat their mistakes.